How This Designer Turned a 1940s Bathroom Into a Calming Retreat

Marble bathroom vanity with light wooden drawers and double sinks.

Design: Anne Carr; Photo: Zeke Ruelas

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time.

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

“The house was newly purchased from a woman who had lived in the home for almost half a century," interior designer Anne Carr says. "Everything was extremely dated, including the primary bath—which featured peacock blue sinks and a tub.”

Meet the Expert

Anne Carr is the owner of Anne Carr Design in Los Angeles. She loves to blend East and West Coast styles, focusing on top craftsmanship, natural materials, and unique lighting.

Before:

Before shot of bathroom with bright blue sinks.

Courtesy of Anne Carr

“Besides the blue fixtures, there were other 70s flashbacks in this bathroom, including the Hollywood makeup mirror lighting and linoleum countertops,” Carr notes.

After:

Porcelain freestanding bathtub under a widow.

Design: Anne Carr; Photo: Zeke Ruelas

“I wanted the bathroom to be sophisticated and timeless with a style that didn’t succumb to trends,” Carr explains. “And it was important all of this take place in a calming environment.”

What Changed

  • Color theme:  Natural and metal finishes combine with marble to create a neutral palette. 
  • Vanity: A wood vanity is topped with a thick marble countertop to hide the dual under-mount sinks, while a row of center drawers is paired with open shelving for storage. 
  • Mirrors: Round, wood-trimmed mirrors play off all the straight lines in the room. 
  • Pendants: The modern brass pendants with their unique cylinder shape add warmth and depth to the space.
  • Tub: The oval tub has a curved backrest for comfortable soaking.  
  • Floor: A white and gray marble floor tile is laid in a herringbone pattern, adding interest without detracting from the overall aesthetic. 
  • Shower tile: Stacked nude colored field tiles make the shower space appear larger and play off the neutral tones in the vanity.
  • Stool: A small ceramic stool with a rippling design provides a spot for toiletries and a small plant. 
  • Window treatment: Neutral Roman shades filter light while providing privacy.
  • Towels: White rolled waffle towels add to the room’s spa-like vibe. 
  • Wall paint: A soft white on the walls—Simply White by Benjamin Moore—brightens up the space without looking too stark.

Shop the Look:

Vanity with marble countertop and glass shower stall.

Design: Anne Carr; Photo: Zeke Ruelas

Maren Wood Mirrors, Walnut, Set of 3
West Elm Maren Wood Mirrors $19-87 $15-87
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“These mirrors have a beautiful wood trim that add warmth and hint of mid-century to the bathroom," Carr notes.

White Studebaker Ceramic Garden Stool
Wayfair Studebaker Ceramic Garden Stool $117
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“Ceramic stools placed by a soaking tub provide the perfect spot for a candle or drink,” Carr says.

Waffle Towels
Parachute Waffle Towels $25-128
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“I love these 100% Turkish cotton waffle towels because they always look new and they never pill," Carr say.

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